Online Finance Ph.D. Degree Program Overviews

Get info about online doctoral degree programs in finance. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out career options.

Essential Information

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Finance program is for individuals who wish to teach finance at the college level. There are a number of online Ph.D. in Finance programs offered mostly at for-profit schools.

Although case studies, exams and many faculty presentations may be provided online, weekly attendance at on-campus seminars may be required by certain institutions. Programs can prepare individuals to assume positions as professors, researchers and consultants.

Requirements for admittance to online Ph.D. programs in finance vary widely. Some schools require applicants to have previously attained a master's degree in business with a strong background in mathematics, while other schools accept students with only a bachelor's degree. Online requirements may require students to have basic knowledge and use of programming languages.

Ph.D. in Finance Overview

Doctoral finance students study financial markets and institutions. They are provided with a solid grounding in statistics and are trained in the methods of research, both pure and applied. Through research, statistical analysis and modeling, they can evaluate risk and, within limits, predict future economic behavior. These are among the skills graduates need to assume academic positions in finance.

Program Information and Technical Requirements

Online Ph.D. programs take from 2-5 years to complete. The length of time depends on the school and whether the student is enrolled full- or part-time. Some of the hybrid or partially online programs use a variety of technology-enhanced learning materials.

Online Ph.D. students should have, at minimum, access to a computer and an Internet connection. Due to the frequent use of statistical analysis in finance studies, possession of basic programming skills in languages such as FORTRAN, C, or Matlab may also prove helpful.

Common Finance Courses

Ph.D. students in finance usually take at least one course in research methodology, which helps develop the analytical and research skills needed to study problems in finance and prepare a dissertation. Listed below are other courses in which Ph.D. finance students often enroll:

Investment Portfolio Management

Students learn how financial professionals make investment decisions and mitigate risk while managing portfolios of stocks, bonds and other financial instruments. They also look at ways to add value to a portfolio by analyzing investment opportunities and taking positions in securities, commodities, artwork, currencies and other valuables.

Managing Corporate Finances

Students are taught how to make the investment decisions that a chief financial officer might have to make. They learn strategies for raising capital, merging with or acquiring another company, restructuring aspects of their own company and investing in profitable ventures.

International Business Financial Management

Investing abroad, especially in emerging markets, can be a risky undertaking. This course provides students with an overview of the factors to be considered, including tax laws, legal constraints on businesses, foreign exchange rates and cultural differences.

Career Information

Graduates with a Ph.D. in finance work in environments such as colleges, universities or research institutions. They may find jobs as professors, business consultants or academic researchers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of open positions for all postsecondary teachers is expected to rise by 13% between 2014 and 2024 ( For business postsecondary teachers, a 9% growth in employment was projected.

Salaries for business professors are heavily dependent on education and experience. As a general guideline, however, the BLS reported that in 2015, the annual mean salary for full-time business professors employed at colleges, universities, and professional schools was $99,170.

Professionals who would like to earn a finance Ph.D. online have several options from which to choose, though some may include on-campus requirements. Different courses the programs may focus on include managing corporate finances, investment portfolio management and international business financial management.

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